Status Quo Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

Status quo is an important phrase to know in the modern world — here’s how to discover the meaning of status quo and use it IRL!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

One of the most exciting things about language is how many world languages borrow from each other. As scholars and linguists look at words in the modern world, they can often trace their roots back to languages that existed hundreds or thousands of years ago. The phrase “status quo” is a fantastic example of how words acquire meanings and definitions from old languages and vocabularies. 

Status quo is one of the most important phrases to understand in the modern world. It’s one of the most effective ways to describe the existing state of affairs or detail the current condition of things. Because of its ancient origins and modern functions, it can be used in many ways. 

If you aren’t sure how to properly use this phrase, don’t worry — you’ve come to the right place! You need to know everything about what this word means, where it comes from in the broader world of language, and how to use it in the most appropriate and up-to-date way. 

What Does Status Quo Mean? 

Status quo (ˌsteɪtəs ˈkwəʊ) in modern American English and British English is a phrase that describes the current state of affairs. It is often used to contrast a potential change or something that might evolve if action is taken to alter it. 

Status quo is a word used with both negative and positive connotations, so you don’t need to worry about misusing it. It is most commonly used in political situations, mainly because governmental conditions are constantly shifting, and people are trying to relate them to stable environments. Despite that, it is still often used in typical life contexts, and it doesn’t need to be used in high-stakes situations all the time. 

While looking at definitions for a word can be helpful, one of the best ways to understand what a word means is by seeing it used in context or compared to other words. If you were to look in a thesaurus for word lists of synonyms, you would likely find words and phrases including: 

  • Status
  • State of Affairs
  • Existing Conditions
  • Parameters
  • Situation
  • How things are
  • Things at the present
  • Standing
  • State
  • Usual
  • Typical

Where Does the Word Status Quo Come From? 

Like many other words and phrases in the English language, the phrase’s etymology is found in Ancient Latin. 

The Latin status quō essentially translates to “the state in which,” which was used in many contexts in its original language. However, it was incorporated into many scholarly discussions and literature as time went on. Many scholars and writers started to incorporate Latin phrases into their writing as time went on, which led to the words being used in many more situations. 

A related phrase, status quo ante, literally translates to “the status before.” It refers to how things were before something happened and is popularly used in many similar contexts. 

Over the years, many people started incorporating the word into more day-to-day settings alongside other words adopted from Latin. This is an excellent example of how many other idioms and collocations are transferred from one language to another, showing how deeply connected language is. 

Example Sentences Using the Phrase Status Quo

One of the best ways to learn how to use a word properly is by seeing it in everyday sentences that you might use on your own. That’s how almost everyone realizes how to speak when they’re growing up, and it’s a practice that transfers excellently to learning phrases later in life. 

Here are some examples that can help you understand what this word means in more practical contexts! 

The Portuguese government debated whether to stick with the status quo on their immigration policy or change it completely. 

I was trying to change the status quo of the word of the day aspect of our website, but everybody disagreed with me. 

The wiktionary and Wikipedia articles discussed many aspects of the status quo of foreign policy in western countries. 

Even though the status quo at Harpercollins publishers didn’t have room for a writer like Mr. Kwō, the book’s quality got him on their roster without a hitch. 

I checked out the random house down the street simply because its exterior was entirely in line with the status quo of architecture in the late 20th century. 

The school decided to crack down on all of the policies regarding dress code, even though the status quo for a long time had been incredibly lenient. 

The editors of the Merriam-Webster dictionary maintained the status quo of quality within the newest editions of the dictionary. 


If status quo is just one of many phrases you don’t know or understand in the modern world of English, then you’ve come to the right place! Here at The Word Counter, we’re constantly uploading new articles and blog posts about how to best use the words, phrases, and grammar rules of modern English. 

Where a thesaurus or dictionary might give you some basic definitions at best, it’s our goal to provide a clear, dynamic, and relevant understanding of what a word means in the modern world. We’re always looking to give people a resource to increase the quality and efficacy of their communication in as many ways as possible. The more clearly you’re able to communicate in the modern world, the better off you’ll be! 

If you want to be the best communicator possible, check out our blog right here


  1. Status quo Definition & Meaning |
  2. Status quo – Definition, Meaning & Synonyms |
  3. Status quo definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary